Beautiful detailed sleeve. Refashion a too-big t-shirt to have a unique gathered sleeve using this tutorial. Click through to see where to cut and sew the sleeve.

Are you ready for another t-shirt refashion? I do these regularly when I get tired of what’s in my drawers. I have a stash of too-big shirts that I go “shopping” in and then I start playing around. Most of them came from a clearance sale I went to a couple of years ago and were $2 each, but I believe this one was only $.97 (even better).

Nautical Navy T-shirt Refashion | Mabey She Made It | #refashion #tshirtrefashion #fashion #sewing

So trying it on, it was pretty big. The problem areas were the neck line being so low, it was too wide, and I wanted short sleeves. Check out how much fabric was under my arm there!

Nautical Navy T-shirt Refashion | Mabey She Made It | #refashion #tshirtrefashion #fashion #sewing

After folding and playing with the fabric for a few minutes to get an idea of what I wanted to do (while it was on me), I came up with a crazy plan that turned out rather cool. So go grab a t-shirt, and let’s get going!

 Nautical Navy T-shirt Refashion | Mabey She Made It | #refashion #tshirtrefashion #fashion #sewing

  1. As you can see from the photos, everything was too low (neckline, under the arms, and even the length) and I wanted to pull it all up. So the first step was cutting a few inches off the shoulder area. Cut through the top of the sleeve as well (I know, it’s unusual). By cutting the top of the sleeve, you’re taking out the bagginess that also comes in the sleeve.Nautical Navy T-shirt Refashion | Mabey She Made It | #refashion #tshirtrefashion #fashion #sewing
  2. Cut off the sleeves to the length you want them. I didn’t choose to hem mine (the knit won’t fray), but you can if you’d like to.
  3. If the front and back shoulder area of your shirt are now different lengths (mine was longer in the back), run a gathering stitch and gather the longer piece to fit the shorter piece. Pin everything in place.
  4. Run a second basting stitch along the cut portion of each sleeve, and gather it tightly. Fold the gathered section in half on itself, and pin together.
  5. Right sides together, sew from the edge of the sleeve to the neckline, backstitching at the beginning and end. Your sleeve should now look like this (right side out); pretty cute detail!Nautical Navy T-shirt Refashion | Mabey She Made It | #refashion #tshirtrefashion #fashion #sewing
  6. Now onto the gathered neck! Run a gathering stitch on both sides of some double fold bias tape (opened up and twice the length of your neckline). If you want to make some from a fun fabric, here’s a good tutorial. Then pull and gather till you get the look you want. Pin it to the neck of your shirt, and stitch it on. I did two separate pieces and overlapped them at the base of the V.Nautical Navy T-shirt Refashion | Mabey She Made It | #refashion #tshirtrefashion #fashion #sewing
  7. Next, take in the sides of the shirt (if you need to). I like to put my shirt on inside out and use the pinch method: I pinch the excess fabric and either make marks with a fabric pen or pin it where I want the new seams. Then, create your new side seams, and your t-shirt refashion is ready to go!

Nautical Navy T-shirt Refashion | Mabey She Made It | #refashion #tshirtrefashion #fashion #sewing

I love the neckline of this t-shirt refashion, but mostly I love the sleeve detail. It got rid of the excess in all the right places and ended up unique as well!Nautical Navy T-shirt Refashion | Mabey She Made It | #refashion #tshirtrefashion #fashion #sewing

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Mrs Major Hoff (Sara)
8 years ago

Very cool!

8 years ago

Great refashion, I love the neck ruffle but I REALLY love the sleeve detail.

8 years ago

Hey Lisa, I discovered your post over at the linky party on The Idea Room. In addition to the mini polkadot neckline, what I like most about this bag is the sleeves. I love the runched look. Thanks for sharing this Lisa!

8 years ago

I love how this shirt came out!! Great job! I am stopping by from Craft-O-Maniac’s linky party and a follower.
Stop by and follow me back and if you can like my FB page: Crafty Brooklyn Army Wife.

Have a great day!


Wow, Lisa! Such a huge transformation. Those sleeves…LOVE!

8 years ago

Lisa – I love this. I love anything in blue, too. The neckline is really cute and the sleeve detail, too.

Ashley @ 3 Little Greenwoods

You are one smart, smart lady! Love this t-shirt makeover!

Pinning and thanks for sharing on Show-Licious!
~ Ashley